Northern Pass Plans Appeal to State Supreme Court

SOURCE: New Hampshire Union Leader
AUTHOR: Michael Cousineau

Northern Pass officials plan to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court by an Aug. 13 deadline in an effort to jump-start a hydroelectric transmission project that a state committee denied.

The Site Evaluation Committee on Thursday issued a 72-page written decision that, it says, “memoralizes” its May 24 deliberations over whether to reopen hearings on Northern Pass.

“This starts the clock for us,” said project spokesman Martin Murray.

The project attorneys have until Aug. 13 to file their appeal, which could take a year for a decision, Murray said.

The committee had unanimously rejected the $1.6 billion project on Feb. 1 and on May 24 rejected requests to reconsider its decision and resume deliberations. The 192-mile Northern Pass route, which includes 60 miles underground, would run from Pittsburg to Deerfield.

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Site Evaluation Committee Rejects Northern Pass Appeal for New Hearing

SOURCE: New Hampshire Union Leader
AUTHOR: Dave Solomon

There will be no reconsideration of the Northern Pass by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee.

The committee charged with ruling on the controversial hydroelectric project has decided it will not reconsider its February decision to deny the application by Eversource, the state’s largest utility, for the 192-mile transmission line from Pittsburg to Deerfield.

The seven members of the committee assigned to the Northern Pass hearings reaffirmed their unanimous rejection of the $1.6 billion project on Feb. 1 and their written decision of March 30 after a day of deliberations on Thursday.

An appeal to the state Supreme Court is now the most likely option for the project.

“We will pursue all options for moving the project forward,” said Eversource spokesman Martin Murray. “We don’t take lightly an appeal to the Supreme Court. It’s a rare occurrence and one we take only when we have strong conviction and confidence that we will prevail.”

In its motion for reconsideration, Eversource pointed out that the SEC only deliberated on two of the four criteria for project approval before its February denial.

The majority of committee members on Thursday agreed that project approval would have required consideration of all four criteria, but denial could be made on the basis of only one.

The four criteria required for approval were: the project will serve the public interest; will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water quality, the natural environment, and public health and safety; will not unduly interfere with the region’s orderly development; and the applicant has adequate financial, technical and managerial capability to assure construction and operation.

All seven members of the Site Evaluation Committee agreed that Northern Pass had not met its burden to show the proposed transmission line would not “unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region,” and denied the permit on that basis alone.

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Site Evaluation Committee Won’t Decide Whether to Reconsider Northern Pass Until May

SOURCE: New Hampshire Union Leader
AUTHOR: Michael Cousineau

A state committee isn’t likely to decide whether to resuscitate the proposed Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project until sometime in May, the committee’s attorney said Monday.

The Site Evaluation Committee deferred making a decision on requests to reopen deliberations on the proposed project after rejecting it in February.

The committee also voted Monday to suspend its Feb. 1 oral decision to reject the proposed $1.6 billion project until the committee issues its written decision sometime this month.

Committee attorney Michael Iacopino said after the half-hour hearing that filing deadlines likely would push the timeline into May for the committee to reconvene to decide on any motions, including any requests to throw out the committee’s verdict and resume deliberations.

Monday’s committee vote means Northern Pass can’t move forward with its proposed 192-mile project.

“This essentially means they’re kicking the can down the road,” project foe Jack Savage said afterward.

The SEC denial — and now the committee putting off any decision on reopening deliberations — puts into question whether Northern Pass can finalize a 20-year deal with Massachusetts officials by late March to supply hydropower and give the project a guaranteed buyer for its electricity.

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